Michael Avenatti is Donald Trump’s worse nightmare. He is a telegenic, relentless, shrewd legal advocate for his client Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford), who has put Trump and his fixer Michael Cohen in serious legal jeopardy. It hasn’t happened yet, but Trump is a brutal counterpuncher who tries to destroy his opponents. In this instance, Trump is legally cornered. While he can’t stop the inevitably ugly outcome, Trump can wage a vicious public relations campaign to change the narrative.
Avenatti’s background is going to get intense scrutiny. Any ties to Democrat big-money donors or operatives will be highlighted. Any personal or business failings will be exposed. These efforts will not go through the Republican National Committee research arm, because Trump will need plausible deniability in case this became a subject matter in legal proceedings.
Avenatti could be subjected to the conservative smear machine, which led to outrageous conspiracies like Pizzagate. Russia’s disinformation network might concoct a phony scandal. But whatever the genesis of it, the smear will make its way to bloggers like Mike Cernovich, then to the Infowars’ Alex Jones and other media outlets, and eventually, a supportive Presidential tweet or retweet will occur.
There is simply no way Trump won’t unleash the hounds against his tormentor Avenatti, who is likely prepared for the onslaught. But never the less, there is nothing like going through a sustained attack against yourself that gets plenty of media oxygen.
J.H. Norton is a communications professional, life-long Democrat, and married father of two boys living in Washington, D.C.